Two charged after confrontation shuts down community for days

RCMP show of force ends Kimmirut standoff


Residents of Kimmirut breathed a collective sigh of relief April 18 after a tense, three-day armed standoff ended without bloodshed.

Two men surrendered to police last Friday afternoon after heavily-armed members of an RCMP tactical squad from Ottawa surrounded a house located near the hamlet's school.

"The RCMP is extremely pleased to have obtained a peaceful resolution to this situation," stated a news release issued by the Mounties April 18.

Police arrested Issacie Ikkidluak, 26, who faces charges of uttering threats, pointing, discharging and illegal use of a firearm and breach of probation.

Robert Qimirpik, 20, faces a charge of obstructing police for allegedly letting Ikkidluak into his home during the standoff.

The two men appeared in an Iqaluit courtroom this past Monday. Ikkidluak's next appearance is scheduled for May 6 in Iqaluit, while Qimirpik is to next appear in court in Kimmirut May 22.

The incident began April 15, when police received reports of a gunshot coming from inside a home.

A man barricaded inside the building held police at bay for three days. There were "a number of exchanges between the suspect and police" negotiators, an RCMP news release said.

RCMP evacuated nearby residents and shut down the hamlet's school during the ordeal.

Akeego Ikkidluak, Kimmirut's senior administrative officer, said both the co-op and Northern stores had to be shut down during the standoff. Water and fuel deliveries in the hamlet ground to a halt, because both of the hamlet's trucks were parked inside the police cordon.

By this past Tuesday, things were getting back to normal, she said.

"We're all pretty relieved," she said.

The incident prompted questions about whether the RCMP's handling of the standoff was influenced by the killing of a young Mountie in the hamlet in November. Douglas Scott, 20, died when he was shot after responding to a drunk driving call in Kimmirut.

But the RCMP has said it didn't handle the incident any differently because of Scott's death.

Fifteen Mounties from outside Kimmirut were involved in the standoff. A 10-member emergency response team from Ottawa and five Mounties from Iqaluit joined the two officers regularly stationed in the hamlet.

Akeego Ikkidluak worries the media attention might spur copycat incidents.

"Another thing that we keep hearing is that the people who are in jail are competing [with] each other [to] all have bigger stories," she said.

To prevent repeat incidents, she said elders and youth should communicate more and go out on the land together more often. But responsibility still lies with the individual, she said.

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